Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ode to a Mud Pie

There is a whole generation that eats dirt.  They have enjoyed eating dirt since they were little kids.  Apparently, it was a big birthday party activity.  This explains alot about the younger generation.

As I have eluded to in previous posts, I am one of the oldest in my office.   As we were talking about what topics we could talk about on social media for Spring, the idea of making Dirt Cups was thrown into the mix.  I thought the suggestion of making something that looked like dirt was a little odd but who am I to judge odd.  :)

So today, I made my first Dirt Cup!  I am not going to lie - they were pretty darn cute.  First, you make chocolate pudding (don't judge me but it was from a box), mix in some whipped cream, dish it into a cup (preferably clear), and then add crushed chocolate cookies on top to resemble dirt.  Voila!  Adorable!  But wait - there's more!  You "plant" gummy worms, mini gummy frogs, chocolate rocks, and gummy butterflies to create your garden of choice.  We bought bunny Peeps, chick Peeps, jelly beans, and speckled eggs for the Easter inspired gardeners.  For the healthier (ahem) people, we rounded out the pleathera of sugar with mint sprigs which were actually adorable. 

In preparation for our food gardening project I checked out Pintrest and WOW the Dirt Cup inspriation out there is amazing!  These little cups would be perfect for your Easter table or a Spring luncheon, or a kid's birthday party.  You can get as fancy as you want or make it as simple as spending some quality kitchen time with a little one.  The decorating options are limitless!  Show us your Dirt Cup Garden!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dr. Honey Bear's Magic Elixir

Dr. Honey Bear’s Magic Elixir

The world we live in is a Petrie Dish.  Winter (Spring, some of Fall) in Seattle goes from damp, to wet, to soggy, and back to wet.  We have days in the 30’s and days in the 50’s and that back and forth makes everybody on the verge of sick.  Our office is one big open room and we are separated by short cube walls about three feet high.   It is really nice that you can see everyone and conversation flows throughout without having to get up from your desk.  It also means that the germs travel between us like happy tourists on a sightseeing tour. 

Several of us have been taken down by “The BUG” in the last week or so.  It is curious that more of us are sick since the beginning of January, even though still slave to our resolutions of eating much healthier, cutting down on alcohol consumption, and exercising more.  As a team, we decided it was the lack of alcohol in our systems causing the rampant scourge.   Solution: A medicinal concoction one part herbal, two parts good Bourbon. 

With a little experimentation and a lot of taste testing: I give you Dr. Honey Bear’s Magic Elixir.


2 cups Bourbon of choice – I prefer Bullit or Stagg for mixing
1 oz loose leaf Chamomile Tea (or a tea bag)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 Tsp honey
3 Tsp fresh lemon juice
Tovolo Tea Infuser - the owl makes me happy
Mason Jar (because we're fancy)
Sphere Mold (optional)

Add Chamomile tea to the Bourbon in a glass jar and let steep for at least 4 hours. Then grate ginger, lemon juice, and  honey to the Bourbon in the mason jar.  Shake. Shake. Shake some more and then pour over your favorite Tovolo ice shape.  It is not guaranteed to make you better but it won't make you worse. :)



Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Great Burger Debate

Burgers are Americana.  We all know that hamburgers didn't originate in the USA but we as a culture have perfected them.  Burgers (as they are now known) have become a source of pride and creativity.  As a nation, we have world class chefs using their vast culinary knowledge to create edible masterpieces between two pieces of bread, toast, rolls, buns, brioche, pretzels, etc.  There are restaurants dedicated to the art of burgers - Hubert Keller, Tom Colliccio. Careers are made on a signature burger ala Spike Mendleson.  Every American has an opinion on the subject and as a culture we are deeply divided.  Is a burger better grilled, fried, pan-seared?  Should it be rare, medium rare, or well done?  Don't even get me started on the ratio of fat to lean meat or what proportion of blended cuts make the very best burger.  If the burger is not beef, is it a burger? Personally, I love lamb or bison burgers but I tend to be on the gameier side of things.  There is a restaurant not far from me called Uneeda Burger - good name - that does a lamb burger with tempura lemons, arugula, and manchego cheese that makes me weak in the knees...great burger. 

To prove my point, I asked my office mates to shoot me an email of what makes a perfect burger and wow are we some passionate folks!  Everyone was VERY specific!  Some gave me childhood burger memories.  Some went the regional fast food route like Flamer's or The Habit in Northern California or the legendary butter burgers from Culver's in the Midwest.  There were burgers of lamb, wild boar, no sirloin, only sirloin, one made an argument for chicken but if it isn't ground and formed into a patty. I am not sure it counts.  There were a lot of opinions on bacon - from the number of appropriate slices to whether it should be in the burger or on top.  There was a great variety of cheeses expressed: blue, cheddar (sharp and mild), American, butterkase (sophisticated group), and manchego. There were more onion fans than I expected and fries were an essential component for many.   As a whole, we were split on vegetables.  My favorite part of reading the emails was the emphatic nature in which the descriptions were written.  I highly encourage to recreate this debate in your own office or book club or wherever your people gather - it is highly entertaining!

Ok - it's your turn now.  What's your perfect burger?

Burger guide ala Tovolo:
Elliot Bay Brewery
A'town Bistro
Uneeda Burger
The Habit